ANATOMY OF A VERDICT: HOW ANGELA DAVIS BRANDED A TERRORIST WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY BY JURY IN TEARS

Modern criminal defense may have begun in 1972 when Angela Davis, a committed communist, was found not guilty of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy by a white jury, after an eloquent closing argument from her lawyer, Leo Branton.

Angela Davis, center, in 1969

Angela Davis was arrested for providing the weapons used in one of the most troubling and notorious criminal cases of that turbulent era. During a routine trial of a youthful offender, the young man gained control of the courtroom taking the judge, the prosecutor and several jurors hostage. Eventually in a brutal police shootout the judge, prosecutor and one of the jurors who’d been taken hostage were killed.  
The case was presented by the FBI and the press as law and order versus anarchy and chaos. And it was proven that Angela Davis had purchased the sawed-off shotgun used to kill the judge two days earlier. 

Nixon called her “a dangerous terrorist,” while John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Rolling Stones recorded two songs defending her, Angela and Sweet Black Angel.

Her defense lawyer, who died two days ago, was one of the first to successfully use a team of psychologists to determine who in the jury pool would be most amenable to defense arguments. 
Yet what Clearwater criminal defense lawyers hope is never
 forgotten is the attorney’s brilliant closing argument which reminded jurors of America’s long road from slavery linked to residual racism which explained the fact that Angela Davis, an FBI  ten most wanted, had fled after the shooting. As a professor she’d long argued police could not be trusted often referring to them as pigs. 
As the NYT’s noted in her lawyer’s obituary this morning, his closing argument may have won the day:

Friends of mine said we couldn’t get a fair trial here in Santa Clara County. They said that we could not get 12 white people who would be fair to a black woman charged with the crimes that are charged in this case.Then he presented jurors with a drawing of Ms. Davis bound in chains, then a second drawing of her freed. He said:
“Pull away these chains,” he said, “as I have pulled away that piece of paper.“
Some jurors cried, and after she was acquitted, so did Ms. Davis. She also hugged the jurors.

The best Tampa Bay Defense Attorneys know that it takes much more than mere words reducing jurors to tears for significant not guilty verdicts; it takes finding shared values, dedication, skill and a lot of hard work.


THE BEST CRIMINAL DEFENSE: FUN & VITAL FLORIDA TRIAL

The more important the case, the more likely that the judge will do his or her best to make you look good. And the less important the case the more apt you are to fall on your face if for no other reason that those involved are simply bored. If the game isn’t interesting there are plenty of judges who are apt to play you like the cat plays the mouse.

When the Best Clearwater Defense Lawyers go to jury trial on first degree Murder or an Armed Burglary or white colar crime such as Theft, Bribery, Embezzlement or Fraud, the attorneys will be treated with more respect at every stage of the proceedings.

Human nature being what it is everyone involved in the case tries harder and works harder when the stakes are greater especially a good judge.

Part of the reason is that any possible appeal of a conviction could carry with it the argument that the defense counsel failed to zealously defend his client or that the defendant had incompetent counsel. Further, in an appeal the judge’s legal decisons will be looked at for legal error. Any mistakes of law or in jury instuctions or in evidence could result in a conviction being overtunred. The prosecutor’s actions will be also be examined to see if there was prosecutorial misconduct.

The more complex the case for Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys, the more likely that the record of the case will reflect well on all three parties with the judge doing everything he can to make certain that the defense gets a clean shot at a fair trial. The message for any good defense attorney then is to always add an interesting wrinkle or twist to the case such as a compelling personal story about the defendant. The trial must be vital and fun. Let the Court know why you are trying the case, and the Judge will do whatever is possible to give you a fair hearing.